Storms in the East coast are affecting flights: What can I do if my flight gets cancelled or delayed?
Flights have been grounded at airports across eastern parts of the US due to severe weather, causing thousands of flight delays and cancellations.
The threat of severe weather has caused the grounding of flights in various airports across the Eastern US, leading to thousands of flights being delayed or canceled.
The Federal Aviation Administration said they were “re-routing aircraft around the storms heading to the East Coast as much as possible” in a social media post.
Delays and cancellations are frustrating for any traveler, but people do have some rights when these unfortunate events take place.
One-fifth of flights get delayed
Air travel is the second most utilized transportation mode in the United States. It should come as no surprise that the percentage of travelers that take a flight to their destination and home increases the longer the round-trip distance. Commercial planes in the US generally arrive on time, but roughly 20% of flights get delayed and almost 3% canceled.
Between January and December 2022, over three-quarters of flights reached their destination on time according to data from the US Department of Transportation. Of those that didn’t, roughly 20.5 percent had some form of delay and 2.7 percent of them were canceled.
So, what recourse do travelers have if their flight gets canceled or delayed this year? Ticket holders’ rights vary depending on whether the flight was canceled or delayed. Here’s what the US Department of Transportation has to say.
Airline passenger rights
Passengers are entitled to reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket for the part of the journey not made, or re-routing at the earliest opportunity should a flight be cancelled by the airline for international travel. If you are already at the airport and you opt for re-routing, you should be also entitled to meals and refreshments in proportion to your waiting time, and two telephone calls, texts or emails. You are also entitled to overnight accommodation if you are to be re-routed the day after your planned flight and, depending on the circumstances, to monetary compensation.
Flight delays of more than three hours
Should a passenger arrive at their final destination with a delay of 3 hours or more, they may be entitled to financial compensation, as long as the delay was not caused by extraordinary circumstances. If your flight is delayed for two hours or more at departure, the airline must offer you care (meals and refreshments and, if necessary, accommodation). If this delay means that you arrive at your final destination with a delay of more than 3 hours, you may also be entitled to financial compensation.
The small print
Each airline has its own policies about what it will do for delayed passengers and every customer should read the cancellation policy ahead of booking flying as (unlike the EU), there are no federal requirements in the US. If you are delayed, ask the airline staff if it will pay for meals or a phone call. Some airlines, often those charging very low fares, do not provide any amenities to stranded passengers. Others may not offer amenities if the delay is caused by bad weather or something else beyond the airline’s control. Contrary to popular belief, for domestic itineraries in the US, airlines are not required to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed or canceled.
Biden administration looking into new rules on flight cancellations and delays
The Biden administration announced in May that it is looking into new regulations in the event a flight is delayed or cancelled. Basically it would establish new federal rules for all airlines on providing ticket holders with assistance and monetary compensation in the event that a flight were cancelled or delayed more than three hours when the carrier is at fault.
However, the specifics are still being worked out at the Department of Transportation. In the meantime, airline passengers can check each airline’s compensation policies at FlightRights.gov.